French

My Shot at a French Classic Dessert

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Tarts are a quintessential dessert for the French. While passing pâtisseries in Paris, you see colorful and dizzying arrays of tartlets filling the shelves through the glass windows. Their buttery crusts are filled with pastry creams, custards or fruits.

As readers of this blog know, chocolate is one of the true loves of my life. So, it’s not surprising that I wanted to try a French recipe that featured chocolate in all its goodness.

La Tarte Au Chocolat, one of Mimi Thorisson’s delectable recipes, was the winner! There’s really nothing I enjoy more than the combination of a flaky crust and smooth velvety chocolate.

Now, I am no baking expert, but I decided to try my best. I did cheat a bit by using a premade tart crust, but I really embraced the experience by preparing the rest from scratch.

Ingredients: 

For the pastry (When not premade):

2 cups plain flour

2/3 cup butter (softened at room temperature)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup ground almonds

1 egg

1 pinch of salt

1. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together until the mixture forms solid dough. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic film and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

2. On a floured parchment-paper covered surface, roll out the dough to fit your tart pan.

3. Line your tart pan with the dough; leave 1/4 inch/ 1 cm overhang.  Gently press the edges of pastry against the interior of the tart pan ring and prick the base with a fork. Use a piece of leftover dough to press down the edges (this trick will prevent any over-stretching or finger marks).

4. Cover with plastic film and place in the freezer for a least an hour (the longer the better). This will prevent shrinking.

5. Cut out a piece of parchment paper and line the bottom of the tart in the pan.  Place beans/marbles/any oven proof weight and blind bake in a preheated oven 180°C/ 350°F for 10 minutes.

6. Remove weight and parchment paper and bake for a further 3-4 minutes, or until slightly golden. Set aside.

For the chocolate filling:

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup whole milk

1/3 pound dark chocolate

1 tbsp. salted butter

1 egg

1. Turn off the oven and keep the door semi-closed (leave a tiny gap open).

2. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl.  Set aside.

3. In a saucepan, add milk, cream and butter.  Bring to a soft boil and immediately pour over the chocolate.  Mix well until chocolate has melted completely.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg and pour gently and slowly in the chocolate mixture, mix well.

4. Gently pour the mixture into the tart, and place in the oven (switched off) for 15 minutes. Close the oven door.

5. Take out from the oven and leave to cool and set for minimum 2-3 hours.

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For the salted caramel sauce:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup cream (slightly warmed)

3 tbsp. salted butter (at room temperature)

1. Melt the sugar in a saucepan on a medium heat.  Do not stir until it has nearly all melted (it should be golden/amber colored).

2. Take away from the heat, stir with a wooden spoon and gently pour the cream.   Stir well, add butter, and continue to stir.

3. Return to a low heat for 5-10 seconds, stirring constantly.  Leave to cool.

Serve chocolate tart (cooled and left to set for 2-3 hours) with the mascarpone vanilla cream and caramel sauce.

To my surprise, my tart actually came out better than expected. It may not have come out as pretty as Thorisson’s but I’d say just as delicious. I plan on making it again with the actual almond tart. It’s a rich dessert, so a slice goes a long way, but can you really ever have too much chocolate? I definitely recommend trying! Enjoy!

 

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